Please join us for our next German Form Talk:
Christiane Fischer will present
Standstill and Silence in Petzold’s Transit
Christian Petzold’s film Transit (2018)—a cinematic adaptation of Anna Seghers’ eponymous novel—is most well known for the temporal uncertainty it presents. Simultaneously evoking the current European refugee crises and the history of European migration rendered in fictional form by Seghers, the film is itself “in transit” between time frames. The term Petzold uses to describe this idiosyncratic stylization of time is “Geschichtsstille” [meaning both history at a standstill and historical silence], by which he denotes the refugees’ experience of being stuck in transit. This talk will concern Petzold’s resonant term and the unstable relationship between the two possible translations as “history at a standstill” and “historical silence.” Such a vacillation makes it possible to not only situate Transit between past and present, but to examine further interstitial moments that have significant implications that challenge the confines of contemporary German narrative cinema.
Christiane Fischer is a Ph.D. student in German Studies at Rutgers University. Before joining the department in 2016, she completed her B.A. degree in Comparative Literature with minors in Art History and Aesthetic Theory at the University of Vienna. Her dissertation engages with vision and visibility in contemporary German media.